Recovery vs Life

24 Sep

Life has been a million miles an hour again. My feet have not touched the ground in 2 weeks. I’m working lots of p14 hour days to meet a series of never ending deadlines and have been using my infrequent spare time to see (gasp) A Boy I have started dating. I’m behind on everything in my life- emails and texts from friends, calls to make, life admin… All of it. I’m chipping away at a never ending to do list and it’s exhausting.

On that list is sobriety work. I didn’t go to an AA meeting for 10 days and have been away from the blogs a bit. I was feeling fine, then got a bit antsy on Monday this week. I skipped a work meeting that wasn’t absolutely necessary to dive into an AA meeting and I felt distant from it all. I know I won’t drink (today), but what does this uncomfortableness with the programme I’ve been experiencing recently mean? Is it complacency? Is it a case of not reaping the rewards of the old adage “you get out what you put in?” or is it a result of being more in tune with what I need to stay sober, which may or not require lots of meetings.

I’ve been having some interesting discussions with my sponsor recently about how much is enough. I’ve been missing my home group where I have a greeting commitment because of work appointments I have no control over, and I think she thinks I’m not committed enough now I’ve got some more time under my belt. Today, I feel weird even typing the words “my sponsor.” It feels strange to me that I’m even in the programme. *Oh hark! The sound of alarm bells!*

Is this the “disease that we forget we have” playing it’s tricks on me? Am I bring sucked into complacency and therefore danger of relapse? Or am I carving out my own recovery where attendance at X number of meetings a week until the end of days is the only way to stay on the right path?

As readers of this blog know, I’m very pro-AA as it’s helped me hugely, and I’m by no means turning away from it or shirking my responsibility to try and help other alcoholics where I can. But. But but but. What do I sacrifice to stay consistent in my attendance at meetings? Do I regularly lie to my colleagues, as I have done today, to get out of something in order to attend my home group? Do I cancel a date with the lovely young man I’ve started seeing to go to a meeting? Do I swap my 6am run/gym visit to find a crack of dawn meeting?

Perhaps it’s like exercise in that you can always find the time in the day if you try hard enough. I was getting up at 5am at one point during my marathon training to fit it in…

But the thing is, currently I’m resenting needing to do all this stuff. How I ever drank when life was this pace I do not know. Thinking about it, my sober life is more hectic as a direct result of all the great things sobriety brings. I am lucky enough to have chosen a job I love, but it’s one that is currently all- encompassing. I cannot let that slide and my whole team is working as hard as I am through necessity.

So what should give? Are meetings the only way to stay sober? Am I getting my priorities wrong? Maybe. This is what I need to work through. How can I stay afloat in sobriety terms and have any sort of social life outside work?

Ugh. Send tea and hugs 🙂

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14 Responses to “Recovery vs Life”

  1. lucy2610 September 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Tea and hugs here 🙂 Tough one FFF and as I’m not in the rooms feel it’s hard for me to comment about that aspect of your sober toolbox. Can you commit to one meeting a week that doesn’t crimp the rest of life’s demands? Could you sneak a week-end meeting in and still have time for blossoming romance? xx

    • FitFatFood September 28, 2014 at 2:50 am #

      Thanks Lou. This is the thing, I probably *could* but with everything else going on, if I’m honest, I don;t really want to.

      I’m going to see how I feel over the next week and try and step up my meetings to see whether it makes a difference.

  2. primrose September 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    sorry…did you same something else after ‘I have been dating a BOY”? ok, stop with the squeaking, Prim 🙂

    glad (as ever) you are thinking out loud here. glad too that your sober life is progressing by leaps and bounds. and until a more qualified AA bod comes along here’s my tuppence worth:

    this is a post from Patrick at spiritual river on the topic of long term attendance at AA:

    http://www.spiritualriver.com/why-you-should-not-sit-through-aa-or-na-meetings-for-the-rest-of-your-life-in-order-to-stay-clean-and-sober/

    I’ve got a feeling I’ve already reposted it somewhere so apols if you’ve seen it before. it’s a post I often return to when I worry I am spending too much time on the sober blogs. of course with the blogs they can fit round my bonkers schedule, not vice versa. Patrick has a lot of respect for AA I think (as do I) having come through it himself (which I obv haven’t).

    I so admire and understand your wish to help other people struggling with the demon drink. but would second Patrick’s comment that there may be other ways to do that than via AA. tbh just you being out and having a fun social life and a fulfilling amazing career and DOING IT SOBER is such a great example to other people around you that it is possible and not weird!

    that’s all I’ve got for you atm. sending you vast teapots of tea and infinite sober hugs! xxx

    • FitFatFood September 28, 2014 at 2:48 am #

      Ahahahaha, stop with the squeaking! Yes! A boy! More on which another time I hope…

      I’d never seen that article, so thank you. Shortly after posting this, I had a bit of a meltdown to my sponsor, partly because she’d told me off a bit. I hadn’t been doing my Step 8 homework (making the list of amends) and after a month or so of letting me get away with it, she called me on it. I felt like a petulant child. I don’t want to feel like I’m not making good progress (although that was NOT the spirit she said it in, she was trying to be cruel to be kind and is a lovely, understanding sponsor), just because I’m not following the programme to the letter. I’m going to get my head down and do the work and see what happens. If I feel better, then that’s a good sign. But if it stresses me out unnecessarily, I’ll have to re-evaluate.

      Thanks lovely Prim for your wisdom, as ever x

  3. schooseslife September 24, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi FFF , have you seen the New Zealand Living Sober website ? I have been a member since it started at the start of August, and it has kept me off the booze. The difference for me this time is that the website continually reminds me that moderation just does not work. This is key for me as, as I start to feel fabulous without wine in my life, I start thinking that I can moderate. The website reminds me that moderation is SO NOT an option. It also reminds me that there are many who go for years without a drink and who then relapse for the most trivial of reasons . It is sobering stuff (excuse the pun), but it might be a good and time saving resource for you. X ps LOVE your blog.

    • FitFatFood September 28, 2014 at 2:41 am #

      Thank you! I’ll check out that website, thanks so much for the tip off!

  4. Ellie September 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Question for you: I am new at this and trying to figure out how often I need to be attending meetings in the beginning. Quite frankly, as of right now I am not finding them to be the most exciting way to spend an hour, but I understand it’s necessary. So, how often did you go in a week? And, will the schedule lighten up over time? I just feel like FOREVER for meetings is a long time. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Congratulations on 1.5 years, and thank you for sharing!

    • FitFatFood September 28, 2014 at 2:40 am #

      Hey Ellie.

      Thanks for stopping by. At the beginning, I went to around 5 meetings a week, now I go to 1 or 2, which my AA colleagues suggest perhaps isn’t enough. I’m 8.5 months sober.

      I try not to worry about the ‘forever’ aspect, for now at least!

  5. Annie September 24, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    I love the way you write exactly what you are feeling. I know that’s what people do in blogs, but I can hear you speaking, and I don’t even know you! I’m only on 25 days, but I totally get what you’re saying about sobriety work, and it’s something that worries me a lot. However, I imagine that the sober work is all 100% worth doing in these first years of sobriety and that gradually perhaps one can do slightly less here and there. But I think the work probably never really stops, and that’s something that freaks me out at the moment! Annie x

    • FitFatFood September 28, 2014 at 2:39 am #

      Ahh thanks Annie! I do try to write exactly what I feel, so glad this comes across.

      I wonder about doing ‘less’ as time goes on- I always get amazed when people pipe up in meetings who have more sobriety than I do years on this planet! Maybe it’s not less, as such, but it becoming the fabric of our lives more?

  6. moretomethanthis September 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    Work at that intensity is hard to sustain for any length of time, in a healthy way, anyway. (I do remember this from my long ago days of working… we would have seriously intense times with long long days and tough deadlines, an all-for-one and one-for-all feeling between colleagues that we couldn’t let each other down…) Is the end in sight yet? WIll the never-ending deadlines have an end? You would be feeling the pressure of it, in recovery or not, so it’s not surprising you’re feeling a bit antsy. I think the issue here is time pressure – it’s genuinely impossible to fit it all in (cutting down on sleep is not the answer, sleep is necessary!), so the compromises you’re being called on to make feel tough. Because they are tough. If you’re anything like me, then by now your home is a tip and you’re way behind on laundry? I hope the pressure eases up soon, as long term it can be damaging (on anyone), and in the meantime, I’m sure you’ve got this enough to call your sponsor or duck into a meeting if it feels like it might get hairy with the booze, so to speak. And then further ahead, when the work hours are more normal again, you will have the chance to work out how, whether and where AA fits with your long term recovery. Sorry if that is all sounding a bit lecture-y … it’s not meant to! The short version: go easy on yourself while it is so difficult at work! Ooh, and lovely news on the romance front. Exciting!! xx

    • FitFatFood September 28, 2014 at 2:37 am #

      SO WISE MTM- thanks!

      The work madness will end in a couple of months, and a new project will begin, with the same cycle. I suppose this is the first time I’m experiencing this in sobriety and I’m having to face it without escape. I’ll get there.

  7. ainsobriety September 25, 2014 at 2:05 am #

    I think you do the best you can. The truth is AA provides a place to meet others and realize you are not alone in this struggle. To learn from others. To examine your actions. And to eventually help others do the same.
    Helping others is a vital part of sobriety. Blogging is one way to do that. So is going to meetings.
    I don’t think it’s time to step away from formal recovery yet for me. I think that take some serious sober time. But when life gets busy sometimes meetings do fall off my schedule. I know I will return when it works, or of I realize I need it more than I need other things.
    Sobriety, like life, has no instruction. Sigh.

    • FitFatFood September 28, 2014 at 2:35 am #

      “Sobriety, like life, has no instruction.’ So true, but some of my AAs would argue it does… the programme.

      I’m feeling my way at the moment- a big hormonal mess, which isn’t helping matters!

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